I understand but I can't talk :(

Hi everyone!
again… sorry for my English…

my problem is… I understand English [more or less of course] but I absolutely can’t talk… I don’t get it :oops:
every day I watch TV, study my book and I understand what I hear or what I read… but as soon as I want say something I CAN’T! I forget appropriate words, I forget grammar.

please tell me what I should do?

In my opinion the best thing you can do about it is just - talk! Talk as much as possible, look for friends on the internet you can talk to via Skype etc. - the internet provides us great possibilities!

I had the same problem some time ago, I’d hardly ever spoken English before, at school - OK, but that was not “real talking”. Then I started talking to one American guy - not often, just from time to time - and the more I talked the more confident I was about it.

Just don’t be afraid of making mistakes, of stopping, of having to think about words…

I think there are two things among which has to be differed - the “active vocabulary” and the “passive vocabulary”. Passive vocabulary is the amount of words, phrases… you understand while reading or listening, the active is the vocabulary you are able to use while talking or writing. Your passive vocabulary usually is much wider than the passive (not only in English but also in your mother tongue!) which is only logical.
So don’t worry if you have to look for words while talking, you’ll see that you improve every day you’re talking.

I personally think that the first and usually easiest part of learning a language is understanding the written language. Second comes understanding the spoken language (I’m not talking about understanding different accents of course), third comes writing texts on your own - and the most difficult usually is talking. Might be different for different people and always depends how and where you learn the language (if you go to another country to learn the language there speaking usually is easier than writing for example) of course as well.

So all in all, Leedsana - talk as much as possible!!!

And by the way - there’s no reason for being sorry about your English, it’s good and you can make yourself understood, you can express yourself - so don’t worry about it!

[edit] Sorry, I’ve only read now that you’re living in the UK, so forget some things I’ve written! Then it’s even easier to give you some advice - just go out, whenever possible, and try to meet people. Perhaps you can attend a course at an edult education centre or somewhere else about something you are interested in. If not, just go out of the house - perhaps you can find another mother sitting at a bench on a playground you can start talking to, perhaps… There are soooo many possibilities to talk when you’re living in the country where the language is spoken - just again, don’t worry about making mistakes, nearly nobody will laugh about you, most people will honour that you try using their language, that you WANT to speak their language - and then it doesn’t matter when/if there are some mistakes or you have to stop.

Good look!!![/edit]

Dear Stefanie and Leedsana,

First off I’d like to say that I find it fascinating that you are exchanging your ideas on how to learn English. In my opinion this is the most important ingredient to success: having a keen interest in the subject and asking questions. Stefanie, you obviously know what you are talking about because your English is very good indeed. Leedsana, you want to improve your speaking skills and I agree with most of what Stefanie has said. In addition, I’d like to point out the following. Ask yourself this question: How did I learn my mother tongue? Basically, there is crucial element in language acquisition: imitating other speakers. This means, you first have to listen carefully to how native speakers interact before you can try and speak yourself. Being able to express your thoughts is one thing, yet building grammatically correct sentences might be another. People often think that the best way of learning a language is to live abroad. This is not always true. I know so many people who have immigrated to another country and lived there for many years without learning the local language. In any industrialized country it is possible to live comfortably without speaking the local language. How well you will be able to speak English depends on your amount of self-discipline. For example, you can practice speaking correct English by repeating sentences you hear on a tape or CD. Almost any audio book will do. Listen to one sentence, stop the CD and repeat the sentence until you can make it sound exactly like the source. When you start learning English accuracy is much more important than fluency because it is easier to build up speed later on than to correct your mistakes once they have become a habit.

Stefanie, Napoleon_hill_fan !!!
first of all tkanks a lot for your advice
Stefanie… you are absolutely right but [unfortunately] In spite of the fact I live here it’ s not so easy to talk, especially if you stay at home… but I’ll not give up and maybe… some day… I’ll find another mother sitting at a bench and I won’t be affraid of starting to talk to her.

maybe it’s a good idea to practice speaking by repeating sentences I hear … tkanks

or… maybe You know some internet English school?

Perhaps you really could look for someone to talk to over the internet - via Skype for example.

Have a look at this site here

But make sure you don’t use your main email address as you will get some spam and emails from idiots - I posted there twice and both times got many spam but also at least 15 serious replies to each ad.

Or just reply to ads you find there - that’s the way I found my boyfriend by the way :wink:

Placing an ad on your own of course has the advantage that you can describe what type of person you’re looking for - and you can put into it, that you’re looking for someone you not only can mail but also talk to.

Though it’s said that telephoning is the most difficult way of talking to other people - perhaps it can help you to lose the “dread” of talking to other people and of being lost for words. Make sure you have an online-dictionary loaded in your browser to be able to look up words quickly. It’s probably not necessary but gives you more confidence.

Your English is good, you don’t need an internet school - all you need is practice!

[edit] Before somebody asks - no, my friend didn’t post one of that “I’m looking for real love”-ads, it was a normal, boring “looking for mailfrieds” ad :wink: [/edit]

Hi Stefanie,

thanks for your answer …

yeah… it would be nice…
maybe you are interested in talking with me

best regards,

Hi Leedsana,

yes, I am interested, but unfortunately I have hardly ever time at the moment :frowning:

My uni is about 60km away from where I live, so most days I spend about 4 1/2 to 6 hours a day in trains and waiting at train stations… Plus the time at uni, talking to my boyfriend in the evenings etc… My day would need 48 hours :wink:

But if you like you can add me to Skype though - I’m sending you a PM with my Skype name later!

Hello Stefanie,

I’ve just read your message about your commuting, travelling 60 kilometres back and forth must be quite time consuming and exhausting. I have been in a similar situation and what worked very well for me back then was listening to audio books while I was travelling. It’s an excellent way of using the time on the train or in the car for studying purposes. Do you have an MP3 player? If so you can download all kinds of books in English and listen to them. Or maybe you are already doing something similar? Let me know how you are getting along with your tight schedule.
Best regards

Hi Nicole,

thanks for your suggestion - most of the time I spend with reading (ordinary) books like novels - I always intend to study (mainly for uni) during this time but somehow… I must admit I hardly ever do :oops:
Though I can’t deny that it would be the ideal time as I don’t do much at home. (you don’t really feel like doing such stuff when you come home after 12 hours).

Concerning the audio books - I prefer reading books to listening to books (Thinking back… apart from the audio dramas I used to listen to when I was a child I’ve never really listened to an audio book) and if I wanted to study I also would learn more through reading than through listening.
Not speaking of training English listening skills of course.

I really have a fan reading your answer :lol: